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Cryptocurrency scams climbed to second riskiest in 2021, according to BBB report


Mon, Mar 7th 2022 12:10 pm

Online purchase scams remain #1 riskiest

By the Better Business Bureau

Scams related to cryptocurrency jumped from the seventh-riskiest scam in 2020 to the second-riskiest in 2021, according to the 2021 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report, released Monday. Although cryptocurrency scams made up only 1.9% of the scams reported to BBB Scam Tracker in 2021, the average reported median dollar loss reported for these scams was $1,200, much higher than the overall median dollar loss of $169 for all scam types. The annual report analyzes scams reported to the Better Business Bureau.

Online purchase scams maintained the top spot as the riskiest; this scam type made up 37.4% of all scams reported to BBB Scam Tracker in 2021, with 74.9% reporting a monetary loss. Employment scams dropped in 2021, from second-riskiest to third. The susceptibility and median dollar loss of this scam type dropped slightly, while the number of reported scams increased from 7.1% in 2020 to 7.8% in 2021.

While susceptibility (the percentage of people who lose money when targeted by a scam) decreased in 2021, the median dollar loss rose 47%. Credit cards remained the highest reported payment method with a monetary loss, followed by online payment systems. Payment made via cryptocurrency resulted in a monetary loss more than doubled from 2020. The payment methods with the highest median dollar loss were wire transfer ($1,450), cryptocurrency ($1,200), check ($900) and prepaid card ($700).

Regarding age, online purchase scams were the riskiest for all age groups in 2021. Cryptocurrency scams were the second-riskiest for ages 25-64. Employment scams were second-riskiest and third-riskiest across several age brackets. Interestingly, investment scams were the third-riskiest for ages 18-24 for the first time since BBB began publishing the risk report. The rise of cryptocurrency scams as the second riskiest overall in 2021 may play a role in the rise of investment scams for this age group.

Top 5 Riskiest Scams

Online purchase



Home improvement



For more highlights from the 2021 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report, visit BBBMarketplaceTrust.org/RiskReport.

Go to BBB.org/ScamTracker to report a scam, learn more about other risky scams on BBB.org/ScamTips and visit our news feed

About BBB Risk Index & BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report: To better understand which scam types pose the highest risk, BBB Institute assesses risk based on the BBB Risk Index: exposure times susceptibility (or likelihood of loss) times monetary loss. These three factors help us understand the impact of scams and who is most vulnerable. Each year, BBB Institute publishes its annual findings in the BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report. The report also includes survey research conducted with those who reported scams to BBB Scam Tracker.

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